What does a vaccine do?

A vaccine helps the body fight an infection it could come across in the future. Some vaccines do this by teaching the body's immune system how to fight, and other vaccines are antibodies to help with prevention.

What does PHRU Vaccines Research Centre do?

With the help of our trial participants, the Prevention Community Advisory Board (CAB) and our specialised vaccine research pharmacy, we lead ground-breaking work. We conduct Phase I, II, III and post-marketing clinical trials with volunteers of all ages for vaccines that aim to protect against Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), tuberculosis (TB) and influenza (flu). The PHRU Vaccines Research Centre was the first site in South Africa to conduct an HIV vaccine trial, and we also conducted the trials testing the first South-African-developed HIV vaccine candidate.

Is there really a vaccine which can help a person prevent getting HIV?

In 2009, the RV144 vaccine regimen used in the "Thai trial" provided Thai trial participants with some protection against HIV. Researchers have been working on improving the RV144 vaccine regimen for sub-Saharan Africa, hoping that it could protect more people and last longer. Dr Fatima Laher, who leads the PHRU Vaccines Research Centre, is the protocol co-chair of the HVTN 100 clinical trial, which found that the vaccine developed for sub-Saharan Africa had a good safety profile and relevant immune responses amongst 252 volunteers in South Africa. She is now co-chairing an even larger study, called HVTN 702, to find out how well the vaccine really works, with over 5400 volunteers in South Africa.

Since 2016, the PHRU Vaccines Research Centre has also been researching a different type of vaccine strategy, "antibody-mediated prevention", and the first results are expected late 2020.

A global-antigen HIV vaccine - one that hopes to protect against all strains of HIV - has been developed by Janssen, and the PHRU Vaccines Research Centre is also helping research this vaccine.


We partner with the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), US National Institutes of Health, academic, pharmaceutical and publicly funded institutions.


Soweto Searches for an HIV Vaccine



HIV Research in South Africa: Advancing Life


Which New Health Technologies Do We Need to Achieve an End to HIV/AIDS?


Understanding HIV Vaccine Research


HVTN 702 Launches in South Africa